Abstract guidance for Health and Applied Science (HAS)

Examples of previous abstracts to inspire you to take part in the 2019 UWE Bristol Student Conference – the deadline for submissions is midnight on Friday 25 January 2019.

What to include

An abstract is a short summary of the work you wish to present, and should be a maximum of 250 words. Many of you will be submitting your abstracts when your work is incomplete.

As this is a multi-disciplinary conference, you should aim to write your abstract so it’s accessible for a broad audience. You should:

  • make a clear statement of the overall project aim or purpose
  • highlight your research approach and methods
  • state your findings (or anticipated findings at this point)
  • highlight possible conclusions and implications of your research/enquiry/evidence-based practice or service improvement.

Example abstracts from previous years

The examples below demonstrate how students in the past have presented their work, at various stages of completion, in their abstracts.

Investigating the effect of acute and chronic ethanol exposure upon intracellular levels of branched-chain alpha-keto acid dehydrogenase

Harry Finch and Myra Conway: Applied Sciences

Autophagy is a cellular process which is responsible for mitochondrial turnover and organelle degradation within cells, maintaining cellular homeostasis. Organelles and cytoplasmic proteins are transported to lysosomes where they are degraded by lysosomal hydrolases.

Autophagy is induced and upregulated in cells when they are under stressed conditions, such as starvation or accumulation of protein aggregates induced by reactive oxygen species (ROS) (Lee et al. 2012). Branched-chain alpha-keto acid dehydrogenase (BCKDH) is a mitochondrial enzyme which functions as part of a multi-enzyme complex. When cells are in a fed state, the BCKDH enzyme complex catalyses the second step in branched-chain amino acid catabolism (Koybayashi et al. 1999) and produces substrates for both the Krebs cycle and lipogenesis. However, the specific relationship between BCKDH and autophagy is unknown.

This study investigates how different micronutrients such as ethanol affect both autophagy and BCKDH levels within cells and how these changes compare to those induced by ROS. Comparisons were made between the BCKDH levels in cell cultures exposed to hydrogen peroxide, acute and chronic ethanol exposure and rapamycin (a positive control for autophagy). We also investigated the effect of known antioxidants N-acetyl cysteine and L-glutathione on BCKDH levels in cell cultures exposed to ethanol. If the antioxidants can reverse the effect that ethanol has upon metabolic energy systems then future studies should investigate if antioxidants can be used as treatments for disorders caused by ROS.

Furthermore, dysregulation of autophagy is a known cause of neurodegeneration and it is important to identify different micronutrients that increase or decrease dysregulation occurring, to identify possible treatments.

Kobayashi, R., Shimomura, Y., Murakami, T., Nakai, N., Otsuka, M., Arakawa, N., Shimizu, K. & Harris, R. A. (1999). Hepatic branched-chain alpha-keto acid dehydrogenase complex in female rats: Activation by exercise and starvation. Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, 45(3), 303-309.

Lee, J., Giordano, S. & Zhang, J. H. (2012). Autophagy, mitochondria and oxidative stress: cross-talk and redox signalling. Biochemical Journal, 441, 523-540.

Inclusion: What are the experiences of black and minority ethnic (BME) students of occupational therapy?

Pamela Iyer: Applied Sciences

Aim: Workforce and census data demonstrate that 4.5% of occupational therapists are black or minority ethnic, whereas the population as a whole comprises nearly 15% BAME people. Greater representativeness in a healthcare workforce has been shown to improve patient engagement and patient outcomes. The research aims to study the experiences of undergraduate occupational therapy students and discover if factors relating to ethnicity play a part in recruitment of occupational therapists at pre-registration level.

Methods: This qualitative research uses a series of semi-structured interviews, employing a phenomenological attitude and a social constructionist approach. The interviews are dialogic in some degree, allowing participants to speak at length on three areas: influences on and reasons for choosing occupational therapy, how they have experienced inclusion while at university and on placement (where applicable), and hopes for future careers.

Expected findings: It is anticipated themes will be identified that generate greater understanding of the motivation, experiences and aspiration of BAME occupational therapy student participants. This can inform the Widening Participation agenda and inclusivity policy. It is anticipated that pedagogical approaches can be reflected upon in the light of the findings.

Expected conclusions: Conclusions and implications may include actions that can be taken by universities and the profession as a whole to encourage more BAME students into occupational therapy and thus begin to redress the balance of NHS workforce representation.

Tuberculosis through the ages: the problem with antibiotics

Nikki Green Applied Sciences

Tuberculosis (TB), caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), is a disease that strikes fear into the heart of man. This is no surprise given that, according to the World Health Organisation, of the top ten causes of deaths, TB is ninth and the only infectious disease to make the list. Part of the problem of TB is the rise of drug-resistant strains. But how did these strains occur? To answer this question, one must look to the past. In recent years, technology has improved significantly, allowing molecular exploration of ancient diseases.

The earliest molecular evidence is from an extinct bison species 17,000 years ago, while the earliest human evidence is from approximately 9,000 years ago. Slowly, with the introduction of agriculture, the amount of skeletal and written evidence increases until a peak is reached in the late 1800s. Levels of TB then begin to decrease, following stricter public health measures, plummeting after the 1943 introduction of antibiotics. The first TB antibiotics were so effective that some scientists believed that TB would eventually be eradicated. However, it took Mtb less than five years to become resistant to the first antibiotic.

Evidence shows that it has never taken TB long to gain resistance to antibiotics. As such, this presentation will explore the question of whether we have become too dependent on TB antibiotics, whether resistance is a human-induced issue, and whether our use of antibiotics is causing TB to evolve quicker than in the past.

A student paramedic’s journey towards breaking communication barriers in pre-hospital settings

Lauren Orchard: Allied Health Professions

Bonjour, Hola, Hallo, Ciao, Ola, Namaste, Salaam, Zdras-tvuy-te, Konnichiwa, Sawatdee- kah. Ten ways to say hello and yet, if a patient uses a different language to a paramedic, how do you break the communication barrier? To provide effective and safe clinical practice in pre-hospital settings a paramedic must utilise interpersonal skills conveying individual tailored approaches to each patient (Paramedicine, 2017).

The Health Care Professional Council (HCPC) (2017) recognises interpersonal skills as an extremely important tool for paramedics. Effective communication tailored to individuals can lead to positive impact on each service user’s emotional, mental and physical state. This results in enhanced satisfaction and patient outcomes. If a patient is comfortable with the paramedic, sound history can be obtained with potential diagnoses (Fundamentals of Paramedic Practice, 2015).

During my first clinical placement, I encountered three significant learning events based on patients presenting communication deterioration from life-changing illness. The purpose was to develop communication skills with patients from settings in care homes, rehabilitation and day centres. These are skills that can be transferred and utilised in the role of a paramedic in a pre-hospital setting (HCPC, 2017). The placement involved identifying methods of communication with those that were unable to communicate verbally. HCPC (2017) notes paramedics must be able to communicate with all ages in the community and be able to utilise verbal and non-verbal techniques.

Three case studies were included in the research, examining patients with conditions that present barriers to communication; locked in syndrome, dementia and aphasia. Varied forms of communication were utilised to overcome these barriers; verbal, non-verbal and written communication. This presentation will explore the evidence base to analyse my actions during these patient encounters, concluding that there are varied ways to communicate effectively, no matter how debilitating an illness is.

Developing peer-led student supervision in practice: an evaluation

Stephanie Morris: Nursing and Midwifery

A student support group was set up in the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) Trust supporting students in practice placements from nursing and allied health professional courses from the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) and Bath University. Five peer-led supervision sessions were voluntarily facilitated by a second year student mental health nurse. Drop-in, informal sessions were facilitated with a framework guiding supervision including mindfulness and reflective practice.

Contemporary literature suggests current practice within healthcare settings for employees commonly utilises peer-led and group supervision due to financial and resource constraints. However, anecdotal evidence received from group participants confirms this is not common practice within university/practice environments.

Participating students completed feedback forms at the end of each session providing quantitative (using a likert scale) and qualitative responses assessing the usefulness and need for peer-led supervision sessions. Forms were analysed and themes identified. Key themes emerged showing that student nurses, occupational therapists and trainee psychologists found the experience of peer-led supervision beneficial for discussing problems within practice, developing reflective thinking skills, gaining support, advice and different perspectives from other students, independent of assessment, benefiting from working inter-professionally.

Evaluation of supervision sessions has highlighted a need for peer-led supervision in practice, demonstrating a pivotal role in developing future nurses and allied healthcare professional clinical skills. Peer-led supervision groups provide a platform to develop skills within the NMC student competencies, for engaging with and appropriately seeking supervision in a helpful and meaningful way, encouraging inter-professional working, and developing reflective practice abilities whilst promoting good clinical practice at an early stage of career progression. This evaluation further highlights the importance of peer-led group supervision in practice during and throughout training.

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